BMW I Andretti Motorsport’s Jake Dennis secured his first win in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship with a dominant display at the DHL Valencia E-Prix, converting his Julius Baer Pole Position into victory, ahead of André Lotterer and Alex Lynn.
After securing the pole position for today’s race, Jake Dennis got off the line perfectly, holding on to the leading position. However, he was unable to pull a gap on Mahindra’s Alexander Lynn who was following the BMW driver just tenths of a second behind.
Alexander Sims was handed a drive-through penalty for a technical infringement, sending him back to the very last position of the field.
With 35 minutes to go, two-time FE champion Jean-Eric Verge made up a position, going past Tom Blomqvist for P5. In the meantime, the top quartet of drivers – Dennis, Lynn, Oliver Turvey and Norman Nato were only separated by a single second.
Lucas di Grassi and Nico Mueller became the first drivers to activate their first attack mode, albeit both of them found themselves at the bottom of the order with the Brazilian occupying P18 and the German P21. The 2017 champion was able to benefit from the extra boost, climbing up the order to P13 until the point his attack mode ended.
After securing the third spot thanks to his stellar energy management in yesterday’s Valencia race, Stoffel Vandoorne was the next driver to use the higher energy mode, followed by Oliver Turvey, Rene Rast, Nick de Vries, Nick Cassidy and Sam Bird.
Not many positives to take from today’s result except we're still leading both standings in the championship. That's something, right? 😉#wedrivethecity #ValenciaEPrix #ABBFormulaE pic.twitter.com/pdNgaB2f0l— Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team (@MercedesEQFE) April 25, 2021
With 28 minutes left on the clock, the leading four drivers decided to go for the higher energy mode. Turvey benefitted from activating his attack mode a lap earlier, improving to P2 and even endangering Dennis’ leading spot. However, the British driver slipped down the order to P6 when he run out of the higher energy mode.
Rast, Vandoorne, Blomqvist and Wehrlein became the first drivers to opt for their second activation zone. The two-time DTM champion demonstrated incredible pace to climb up the order and improve to P5. With 16 minutes to go, Lynn was hit by Nato with the collision sending the Briton into the gravel. Although Lynn could rejoin the track, he lost four positions as a consequence of the collision.
With 13 minutes to go, Vandoorne met Buemi in 10th spot with points in his sights but at Turn 10, the pair caught one-another in contact and the Belgian came off worst. Despite his strong showing in the first half of the race, Vandoorne was forced to limp back into the pit due to the damage his car suffered during the get-together.
Reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa was handed a drive-through penalty due to improper use of attack mode. The race director also noted that Norman Nato was handed a five-second time penalty for causing the collision with Lynn.
MEDIAINFO: Advertising banner costs René Rast chance of a podium— Audi Sport (@audisport) April 25, 2021
>> https://t.co/cBEib453cr#FutureIsAnAttitude #ABBFormulaE #FormulaE #ValenciaEPrix #etron #ChangeAccelerated pic.twitter.com/cHG419HzUF
With only two minutes two to go, Lucas di Grassi used his fan boost, passing Sebastien Buemi and improving to the last point-scoring position. In the meantime, Lynn and Rowland got past the Brazilian’s team mate, Rene Rast with the German dropping back to P6. Following the race, the Audi Formula E team reported that a whirled-up advertising banner got caught in the German’s Audi e-tron FE07 which hindered the German's pace in the closing stages.
Dennis retained his composure to manage things perfectly all the way to the chequered flag, with Lotterer coming home second and Lynn recovering to third.
None of the Drivers' standings top five scored points, with the majority starting well down the order as a drying track benefitted the later runners in qualifying. Even so, Nyck de Vries (Mercedes-EQ) heads teammate Stoffel Vandoorne and Sam Bird (Jaguar Racing) and Mercedes hold onto their advantage in the Teams' running.
Commenting on his first Formula E race win, Dennis said: "I am lost for words. The whole race inside the cockpit was incredibly technical. Pulling a gap at the right point to get the Attack Mode was so crucial.
„Everyone in the team did a great job. I’m really happy for everybody. We had such a tough start to the season, but today we turned it around. We are back in it again,” he said.
After securing the second place, TAG Heuer Porsche driver André Lotterer said:"You never know what to expect in Formula E. I thought it was going to be all about patience in terms of energy management and tyres.
„We stayed calm and my engineer and team predicted the right moves from the very beginning, and we executed them well."
Mahindra Racing’s Alex Lynn added: "This is my first Formula E podium and it feels great. Hats off to Jake as he led from the front. It was our plan to stay behind but you are at risk of someone making a mistake, especially when you are in a train.
„We got a bit unlucky, but we recovered nicely, so thanks to the team. It feels super sweet to be up here spraying the champagne!"